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Old 08-21-2019, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
8,164 posts, read 4,983,991 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBoy3 View Post
If you get deep into the study as I did you will find many of the people who do this do it because of lack of funds. Very difficult to do day in day out for years on end.
I can understand people doing it due to a lack of funds.

What I can't understand is a married couple, each gainfully employed, each owning a home, quitting their jobs, selling their houses and hitting the road in a 20 year old broken down RV that was literally crumbling. (They are relatives, so this is how I know.) They planned a 6 month tour of the U.S. Didn't make it.

That's how nuts people can get from watching this YouTube stuff. It can make you so dissatisfied with your current life that you throw it all away. Does it affect everyone the same way? Of course not. You looked deeper, did your research and spotted the drawbacks. Good for you!
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Old Yesterday, 05:07 AM
 
6,443 posts, read 4,848,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBoy3 View Post
Watch videos on YouTube. Watch them all. Get deep into the weeds.

I spent hundreds of hours studying this topic. Thought it would be fun to go out west. Find a quality used camper and do this for a few years. Lots of inexpensive options using legitimate parks.

But not an easy life. Managing food is difficult. Basic sanitation is difficult. Staying warm is difficult and often not safe with some of the options people regularly use. Forget staying cool in the oppressive heat. Just getting safe drinking water in some areas can be extremely difficult.

Staying safe day in and day out can be extremely difficult. Predators can easily see you as a target.

If you get deep into the study as I did you will find many of the people who do this do it because of lack of funds. Very difficult to do day in day out for years on end.

And pooping in a bucket. You are going to see plenty on this topic.

Just not for me..
It sounds like you saw a lot of videos but never gave it a try. Forget the videos. I set out as a full timer without ever looking at one of them.

The logistics were simple for me.

I never had much of an issue with food. There were times especially in the large national parks when buying food is difficult. I did not try to eat as I might living next to a grocer store. There are plenty of options for foods that keep well and don't take a lot of space and allow for fixing meals quickly. It did not take a lot of work and any videos to find them.

I had no issues with "basic sanitation". I did Navy type showers to conserve water and quickly learned to take a daily shower with about 1 gallon of water. Dumping the toilet was a frequent nuisance but certainly not difficult. I use a cassette system which can be dumped at any dump station or outhouse or even a toilet.

Staying warm was not an issue. My truck camper has a decent furnace. The furnace does a great job in moderately cold conditions and I move when the temps are really low. I also have an A/C but typically move when the temps become oppressive.

I have spent hundreds and hundreds of nights in all sorts of places and never felt unsafe. There were a few rare instances when I moved on and did not stay at some isolated area that seemed unsafe. That included a couple of rest stops and a couple of ghetto level neighborhoods.

You can find people living in their cars because they have no money. This usually occurs in urban areas not out in nature in national parks or forests.
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Old Yesterday, 05:17 AM
 
Location: Southern Most New Jersey
1,161 posts, read 847,635 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
It sounds like you saw a lot of videos but never gave it a try. Forget the videos. I set out as a full timer without ever looking at one of them.

The logistics were simple for me.

I never had much of an issue with food. There were times especially in the large national parks when buying food is difficult. I did not try to eat as I might living next to a grocer store. There are plenty of options for foods that keep well and don't take a lot of space and allow for fixing meals quickly. It did not take a lot of work and any videos to find them.

I had no issues with "basic sanitation". I did Navy type showers to conserve water and quickly learned to take a daily shower with about 1 gallon of water. Dumping the toilet was a frequent nuisance but certainly not difficult. I use a cassette system which can be dumped at any dump station or outhouse or even a toilet.

Staying warm was not an issue. My truck camper has a decent furnace. The furnace does a great job in moderately cold conditions and I move when the temps are really low. I also have an A/C but typically move when the temps become oppressive.

I have spent hundreds and hundreds of nights in all sorts of places and never felt unsafe. There were a few rare instances when I moved on and did not stay at some isolated area that seemed unsafe. That included a couple of rest stops and a couple of ghetto level neighborhoods.

You can find people living in their cars because they have no money. This usually occurs in urban areas not out in nature in national parks or forests.
I have a friend who has traveled the country with his wife. Both NJ school teachers. Now retired with very good pensions.

They have had your experience but they also travel with credit cards. They travel with the latest and greatest iPhones to research areas/services.

I gave it serious thought. I only planned to do it for a few years. I never planned to go off the grid as some people do. I figured I would have to spend 35K plus for a good used unit. Primarily staying in safe environments. Having a mentor is helpful. Support groups is helpful.

If you have the coin as you and my friends do it can work. But even he and his wife have had to stay for several days in towns waiting for trailer repairs. He will easily spend several thousand dollars on the road each trip for repairs. He pre-pays credit cards before he leaves. He moves money between accounts while on the road. Not everyone can do this.
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Old Yesterday, 07:01 AM
 
422 posts, read 119,096 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nik4me View Post
Understand, the RV is not for everyone.
I visited some of my RV loving family members and friends when they wereĒ campingĒ
For the love of God could not understand the appeal- surrounded by all other campers in an ďallocatedĒ space in a campground.
You call it ď natureĒ? Peaceful?
My RV camping friends have more nature on their own multi-acres property in the lovely and beautiful mountain - forests area
Heck, we have more nature in our private backyard..
Of all the ridiculous misconceptions about RVing, this one is my favorite. We live in a society where many folks somehow decided that rough it in a tent, pooping in the woods, and hiking in pristine wilderness is noble, and those that RV, are just wannabee wilderness travelers who are too stupid or lazy to do it right, or just can't find a place in the great outdoors to "camp" and "enjoy nature".

The problem with this line of thinking is that you, and millions of your fellow North Americans, just can't seem to process the fact that you aren't even talking apples and oranges here. The two activities often have nothing to do with each other, and most people who are dedicated RVer are not viewing their time enjoying RVing as a poor substitute for camping, disappointed at the lack of overwhelming nature at their RV resort. 99% of RVers are not hoping to someday get back into a tent, and poop in the woods again. Do you rent a room at a resort hotel and complain that you're not enjoying nature enough, that your bed wasn't as hard as sleeping on the forest floor, or that you did not have a raccoon digging through the mini-fridge in your room?
Obviously not. But when your friends and relatives are enjoying every amenity of home, in a nice location that is typically exponentially more pleasant that the four walls of a hotel room, you have no clue as to why they would make choices YOU don't approve of, right?

I've traveled hundreds of thousands of miles in RVs, so far. I've been to every state, most dozens of times. I regularly leave PA in late spring and drive to Alaska. I can spend a summer doing so for less than it would cost for a couple doing a two week cruise vacation to AK. I have been in south Florida campgrounds that were so tight that they looked like the sales lot at an RV store, and I've been in places so remote that it was several hours drive to the next fuel stop. I've camped in the middle of cities, and was camped in a gravel rest stop in a remote part of the Yukon, cleaning the windshield on my motorhome, when a fellow traveler pulled off the road and said, "you might want to hurry up, there is a Grizzly nosing around on the other side of your rig".

The other thing that most who dismiss the RV lifestyle is fellowship with other travelers. At this point we are hosting at least one couple a year, who spend a week with us, enjoying the tourist attractions and overall beauty of the region where are permanent home is located. These are folks we never would of met without an RV. We now have dozens of friends who we catch up with every winter, at an RV resort where we spend our winter months.

When it comes to RV campgrounds and resorts in popular destinations, most folks there are staying in RVs and enjoying all the area has to offer, for a fraction of what you are, when you fly in, rent a car, rent a room, and buy three restaurant meals a day. They are generally in a decent, attractive RV resort or campground, with a chance to safely walk the dogs, do laundry, relax by a campfire and enjoy themselves. Quite the opposite of staying at the Motel Six, located a few feet from the highway, and surrounded by chain restaurants and gas stations. Unless that is the kind of "nature" you enjoy.
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Old Yesterday, 07:15 AM
 
422 posts, read 119,096 times
Reputation: 1472
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBoy3 View Post
I have a friend who has traveled the country with his wife. Both NJ school teachers. Now retired with very good pensions.

They have had your experience but they also travel with credit cards. They travel with the latest and greatest iPhones to research areas/services.

I gave it serious thought. I only planned to do it for a few years. I never planned to go off the grid as some people do. I figured I would have to spend 35K plus for a good used unit. Primarily staying in safe environments. Having a mentor is helpful. Support groups is helpful.

If you have the coin as you and my friends do it can work. But even he and his wife have had to stay for several days in towns waiting for trailer repairs. He will easily spend several thousand dollars on the road each trip for repairs. He pre-pays credit cards before he leaves. He moves money between accounts while on the road. Not everyone can do this.
I bought an older motorhome, five years ago. I lived in it roughly 9-10 months a year for a couple of years, and put about 70K miles on it in that time. There was ONE year in that timeframe, where I spent several thousand in maintenance and repairs. The total hit that figure since the thing needed six new, large truck sized, tires. Other years, typically few hundred bucks a year.

I have seen folks who have literally spent a couple of thousand every trip. They were typically extremely unlucky, bought an RV that was in extremely poor shape to begin with, and/or from a brand that is famous for building junk. Some of these folks also can't figure out how to hold a screwdriver without poking themselves in the eye, and as a result are sickly dependent on repair facilities that rob them of $150 hour to do basic things that any grown adult should be able to handle. This type of RVer doesn't last long, and are often pretty disgusted by the time they sell the thing. They are also anything but a typical representative of the hobby, as the vast majority of RVers spend far less that "several thousands dollars" a year, to keep their equipment maintained. A RV is sometimes no different that a boat, it is a toy that you don't need, and better be able to fix and maintain yourself, unless you are well off, and have no issue with tossing money at it. I just replaced all the likely failure point components (switches, thermostats, circuit board) in my RV furnace, after it failed. It cost me less that $250, and two hours of my time. A lot of RV repair places will tell you that it's shot and needs to be replaced, for five times that amount.
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Old Yesterday, 07:17 AM
 
6,443 posts, read 4,848,247 times
Reputation: 13411
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBoy3 View Post
.....
If you have the coin as you and my friends do it can work. But even he and his wife have had to stay for several days in towns waiting for trailer repairs. He will easily spend several thousand dollars on the road each trip for repairs. He pre-pays credit cards before he leaves. He moves money between accounts while on the road. Not everyone can do this.
I found RV travel to be very low cost. I average $7/night for camping. I have a senior pass which cuts camping costs in half for National Parks, forests, etc. Propane costs me about $15/month.

My truck has an extended warranty and I also have tow insurance. I have had no expenses and minimal issues other than a flat tire.

My camper is now 15 years old. Considering the years and thousands of nights of use, repairs have been minimal. I can only think of a few items costing money: $15 water heater ignitor, $100 water pump, $10 generator spark plug, $100 solar controller. I replaced the batteries twice and had to replace a jack that cost $300.

I cannot begin to imagine what your friend is doing that is costing thousands of dollars.
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Old Yesterday, 09:04 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
9,639 posts, read 17,308,017 times
Reputation: 13517
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuzzant View Post
For each positive of van living there is a matching negative. Just some negatives for you to consider:

Showering, general hygiene
Cooking/eating
Cleaning utensils and your living space
Do you really want to ďliveĒ in that confined of a space?
Weather dependency
Mail (where does it get sent?)
Income tax (residency)
.
.
.
.
I was living in my van for several months and I loved it and canít wait to get back out there. Iíll take on some of your questions. My van is just a conversion van...nothing fancy and no built in kitchen or toilet. I had always wanted to do this so it wasnít the YouTube vids that got me out there and I find some of them to be a bit of a turnoff, mainly because it gives people the idea that there is a very specific demographic that does this, when in fact itís more a demographic that makes videos, lol.

Showers: I have a planet fitness membership but for those times when Iím not near one I can take a bath in a bucket. One gallon of warm or cool water can get me clean, and that includes my hair. I can do this inside for privacy or outdoors on a pretty day and it feels so good. You didnít ask but toilet facilities are pretty basic...at night I have a wide mouth water bottle with a screw on lid to pee in. At first I had one of those bedside bottles but was terrified Iíd spill it kicking around at night. Usually Iím close enough to a public bathroom that I donít need to worry about it but I have been known to poop in a bag and haul it out. Not that big of a deal. I double bag in a trash bag.

Cooking/eating: I have not a lot of tolerance for dealing with keeping up with ice and ice chests but I like fresh food so I go to the store a lot and get salad kits to eat the same day. I buy fruits and veggies that store without refrigeration like apples, bananas, and carrots. I keep quick cooking items like oatmeal and rice and nuts and dried fruit. Also, I found out that canned beans are actually more nutritious than dried beans and Iím not going to be sitting around cooking beans all day anyway. A woman at the rtr showed me a slow cooker that is actually a thermos and apparently it can even cook beans, so that is on my Xmas list. I am really picky about my morning coffee so I have a grinder and buy beans at Trader Joeís or other places that have good coffee and then I have a filter basket and do the pour thru. I drink it out of a mason jar. I donít drink soda but I do drink herbal tea and that also super easy. Oh and I do have a butane stove. Itís the easiest tho not the most thrifty solution.

Keeping clean: I can heat water for dishes and have done so, but some folks at the rtr showed me that you can just put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spritz the dishes and then wipe down. It works pretty well...disinfects and then the alcohol evaporates quickly. The van cleans up quickly in the morning and for deeper cleaning I keep a canister of car wipes and go wash and vacuum periodically. Someone got in my van once and mentioned that it smells good so that made me feel better as I was wondering what I didnít smell, lol.

Do I really want to live in that confined of a space? The answer is no but i donít fell confined. Van life is outdoor life really. When i stop to camp i get out of the van and move around a lot. Also I want to mention Walmart and other parking spots...not that big a deal. If Iíve been out all day enjoying beautiful places and scenery, Iím not going to complain about where I lay my head to sleep. I pulll in late and leave early and Iím grateful they let us do that. Sometimes I even help them out by picking up some trash or alerting them to possible problems. Itís a safe alternative because they have cameras and security. Yes it can be noisy but thatís what earplugs are for and I have a sleep mask too.

Weather dependency: in the summer I went north and in the winter I went south. The coldest night I had to deal with was 22 degrees and I have a down comforter in my van so I was comfortable. I must admit there were some mornings I didnít want to get up but the beauty of the lifestyle is that I didnít have to. I keep a tent in the van but rarely use it and was getting ready to get rid of it till I got to Fairburn SD and there were tons of mosquitoes and flies so I set it up to get away from them since I didnít want to close myself up in a hot van.

Mailing address: I use my daughters address in St. Louis but if I didnít have that option there are several places you can have mail sent where they will hold it for you and send an image via email of what came in that day. Cheaprvliving has links to several. Also, to answer the next question, you can set up residency in any state and some have no or low state taxes. Again, SD is one of them and this info is also found on Bob Wellsí website.
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Old Yesterday, 09:11 AM
 
5,387 posts, read 7,300,750 times
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Try to think of yourself not as you are now, but some scenarios of how you could be in the future. For example, if you develop health issues and you had dedicated yourself to van living, is it more likely to be a problem than living in a traditional home? If you go the van living route and change your mind, will you be able to get out of it, or will you have put yourself into a situation where you're stuck with diminished capacity to choose option B? Will the lifestyle be worth the negatives?

Last edited by otowi; Yesterday at 10:10 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 09:52 AM
 
6,443 posts, read 4,848,247 times
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For some people life is confusing and difficult no matter what lifestyle they attempt. For others figuring out full time RV travel is not difficult. There are several hundred thousand Americans who are full timers and have figured it out.

For anyone seriously interested there are a couple of forums where you can find information and the answers to any questions: escapees (rvnetwork.com) and rv.net. You can even take courses if necessary to learn how to drive big RV rigs. I would stay away from the YouTube videos. Most of those people are trying to make some money and entice viewers to subscribe.
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Old Yesterday, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Cochise county, AZ
5,057 posts, read 3,534,213 times
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Personally I enjoy the utubes. I just wish I would have found them before I started out to explore Arizona to see if I wanted to move here. I would have saved a lot of money that I spent on motels. And, I didn't even sleep well on the trip to move here because I was worried about the things I packed in the car.

I would never have known about the RTR, or the caravans that travel together. Which brings up my apartment now. I don't know my neighbors and no one knocks on my door. If something were to happen to me, a heart attack or whatever, I wouldn't be found until rent was due.

If a person travels with a caravan, which I would most likely do, if people didn't see me they would at least check if there was movement. The thought of traveling by myself doesn't intrigue me as much as traveling with a group of like minded people. I just don't know enough yet, which is another reason I watch the videos.

I don't care if people make money by my watching their videos. Good for them! They either teach me something new every time I watch them or show me scenery I've never seen before. Russ of Rver tv has been on a trip through much of the coast. The views of the Oregon coast are spectacular. I've never been to Oregon but I feel as if I now know some of it, including thrifty camp areas. He's not one to spend a lot of money but, from what I saw, he chooses camp sites. I would never have known about these places.

I'm not going to name everyone, but I've seen a lot of places I've always wanted to see but never have. New Orleans, Key West, different parts of the South I'd like to see. Savannah. I've wanted to see that ever since I read the book about it. Many parts of Georgia. I can't afford to visit them all but at least I feel like I've seen them in a way.

So I will keep watching the videos, to see places I've never been and learn a lifestyle I had no knowledge of.
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